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4 IEBC officials charged over lanterns tender

The four denied the charges before Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Ndwiga and have been released on a Sh700,000 cash bail/FILE

The four denied the charges before Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Ndwiga and have been released on a Sh700,000 cash bail/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 7 – Four officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have been charged with fraudulently awarding a tender to an unqualified company for the supply of lanterns, which were used during the March 4, 2013 General Election.

Adan Katello Adano, Kennedy Guanye Ochae, Abdi Elema Ali and Gabriel Mutunga are being accused of changing the contents of the original tender supplied by Solamark Technologies Limited before awarding it to the company.

The four however denied the charges when they appeared before Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Ndwiga on Thursday and were released on a Sh700,000 cash bail each.

It is alleged that they committed the offence on different dates between October 22, 2012 and November 23.

Three other suspects are also being sought in connection with the fraud.

Last week, the IEBC’s Chief Executive Officer James Oswago was arrested alongside three other officials by the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) over another tender amounting to Sh1.3 billion for the purchase of electronic voter equipment.

Deputy commissioner Wilson Shollei, procurement manager Willy Kamanga and procurement director Edward Karisa were later charged alongside Oswago.

“They were arrested in relation to procurement of equipment in the last General Election,” said EACC Chairperson Mumo Matemu.

After the March poll, the EACC wrote to the IEBC demanding details of the process through which ICT systems were procured.

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EACC Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo said at the time that the anti corruption watchdog started the investigations when it emerged that the IEBC procurement process may have been flawed.

He explained that the probe started when squabbles emerged at the IEBC tendering committee over the ICT systems including the electronic transmission of results, performance of the Electronic Voter Identification Device, infrastructure capacity, results visualisation and skill capability.

“The investigations were precipitated by intelligence information received by the Commission to the effect that procurements undertaken by IEBC were not transparent,” he said on April 18.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko had at the same time written to the EACC asking it to commence investigations into the IEBC procurement process.

Tobiko told the EACC that he had appointed a team of Prosecution Counsels to assist them in the investigations.

“You may therefore instruct the head of your investigating team to liaise with our Mr Kioko Kamula for coordination purposes,” wrote Tobiko.

The Supreme Court judgment on the presidential petition had also recommended further investigations and possible prosecution of the IEBC tender committee members noting that they might have participated in the procurement of faulty technologies used in the General Election.

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